IV-10. “Historical Study of the PREK THNOT Power and Irrigation Development Project in Cambodia in the 1960sー1970s” (H29 FY2017)

  • Project Leader : Fujimoto Tokihiko (Shizuoka University, Faculty of Agriculture)
  • Collaborators : Tomotsugu Shinsuke (Hiroshima University, Institute for Peace Science Academy of Social Sciences)
  • : Kobayashi Satoru (Kyoto University, Center for Southeast Asian Studies)
  • : Hinata Shinsuke (Shizuoka University, Office for the Promotion of Global Education Programs)

Outline of Research

The PREK THNOT power and irrigation development project in Cambodia was planned by multilateral aid in 1968 with Japan as the leading donor. However, the project was abandoned due to the impact of the Cambodian Civil War, the Cold War in Southeast Asia, and the strained relations between Cambodia and the USA in the 1970s.

The research will examine the actual situation of the PREK THNOT project based on historical information. This includes field surveys of the remains of public works in the PREK THNOT river catchment area, and study of historical materials from civil engineering networks (including original diagrams) and diplomatic relations around the project. Through these analyses, the project will illustrate how multilateral technical cooperation in Southeast Asia has changed during the last 50 years.


The official records and documents of the PREK THNOT project have been missing in Cambodia. However, some important traces and records still remain in the foreign countries involved in this project (for example Japan’s 1959-1962 hydropower feasibility study, Australia’s 1964-1965 dam facilities plan, and Israel’s 1965- 1966 irrigation feasibility study). Some basic civil engineering facilities that were constructed during the Cambodian Civil War era are still observable in the area. Moreover, key persons in charge of the engineers and government officials from Cambodia and Japan are still alive. Therefore, it is possible to reconstruct the original 1960s plan by integrating information gained from various qualitative data and document surveys.

The project will follow four steps: (1) gather and analyze project planning reports and diagrams, (2) analyze diplomatic documents (from the point of view of Japan’s role), (3) conduct fieldwork in the PREK THNOT river catchment area, and (4) review the network of civil engineers and government officials at that time.

Why are we trying to build the missing plan?

This project is important because it not only shows a case of best practice of water resource management in Cambodia, but it is also a model case for studying the historical development of multilateral technical cooperation in the Mekong river catchment area in the 20th century.


Some parts of construction works were completed under Cambodia civil war

Stakeholders meeting: Japanese assistance and aid before Cambodia civil war in ENJJ commitee(EoJ,JICA,NGO,JBAC), Phnom penh.